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Graham: Lara Trump is biggest winner of impeachment trial

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE (R-S.C.) predicted former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE's daughter-in-law Lara TrumpLara TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE will benefit from his second acquittal in an impeachment trial this weekend.  

"The biggest winner of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "My dear friend Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrBurr on 'unusual' Trump endorsement in NC Senate race: 'I can't tell you what motivates him' Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE, who I like and have been friends to a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs, and I certainly will be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican Party.”

Burr, a Republican who is retiring, voted to convict former President Trump on Saturday on the sole article of inciting an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol earlier this year. 

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"The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors," Burr said in a statement Saturday. "Therefore, I have voted to convict."

The North Carolina GOP hours later condemned Burr, aligning itself with the former president.  

"North Carolina Republicans sent Senator Burr to the United States Senate to uphold the Constitution and his vote today to convict in a trial that he declared unconstitutional is shocking and disappointing," the party chairman said. 

The state's other Republican senator, Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE, narrowly won reelection in 2020 and voted to acquit the former president. 

A poll taken late last year showed Lara Trump as the favorite among possible Republican primary candidates to fill Burr's vacant seat. She is married to the former president's son Eric and was a top surrogate for both his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. 

Graham, a leading Trump loyalist in the Republican caucus, also said on Sunday that Congress has "opened a Pandora’s box to future presidents" and "abused" the model of the legislative branch's check on the executive branch. 

"I don’t know how [Vice President] Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House because she actually bailed out rioters, and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open," Graham said in an apparent reference to protests for social justice that took place over the summer.